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Presently, the Canadian Forces (CF) are going through a difficult and challenging period of change. The Army is meeting these challenges by responding to a wide variety of operational tasks and missions that are continuously developing and changing. Simultaneously, budget cutbacks and downsizing have strained the resources required by the Army for the accomplishment of its tasks. The way in which equipment is procured has also suffered the consequences of these difficulties.
Within the Canadian political environment, decision-makers have yet to direct the Army to train solely for operations other than war (OOTW), thus leaving warfighting as our primary task to train for. Additionally, while the possibility of a high intensity conflict occurring in the immediate future is relatively low, emphasis must still be placed on being prepared to deal with such a conflict if it were to arise. However, reality is such that the CF are unable to assemble, deploy and sustain a force capable of waging war even in the defence of Canada. Our capability is limited to participation in low to midintensity conflict and our involvement can only be envisaged in a coalition force setting. The disparity between our defence policy, doctrine and operational capabilities has been growing rapidly. Current political trends combined with recent decisions regarding equipment purchases clearly indicate that this gap will continue to widen unless changes in funding and policy are made.
Canada's current defence policy calls for the maintenance of a multipurpose combat capable force. Despite this policy statement, successive governments have failed to provide sufficient funding to field such a force. Since 1994 the Army's ability to fight a war in its conventional sense has declined substantially. Canada's hard commitment to NATO is now limited to the OP SABRE plan (1), noting that this plan requires strategic lift assets which are not available in our inventory and the regrouping of our main battle tanks (MBT). The armoured regiments, as they are currently organised and equipped, are incapable of participating in the OP SABRE task on their own. Both the Army and Air Force have lost their forward operating base in Germany. Recent equipment purchases, namely the Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV III) and the Coyote, are pushing the Army towards a light mobile force not suited for high intensity conflict but ideal for OOTW and a role in low to medium intensity conflicts in a coalition setting. Canada's actions, both political and in purchasing military hardware, are not compatible with the policy of a multi-purpose combat capable force. Assuming that this trend will continue, we must determine what the role of the Armoured Corps will be after 2010.
Modern conflict will require the Army to be able "to come as we are" in regards to both training and equipment. Recent examples of the Gulf War and the current crisis in Kosovo indicate that we must be ready to deploy on short notice with the equipment we train on. There will be no time to reorganise, reequip or employ reserves. The Army must be organised, equipped and prepared in peacetime to train and deploy for the missions outlined in the White Paper.
Recent decisions to remove the Cougar from the Regular Force inventory before a suitable replacement is purchased will force the Army to reexamine its warfighting doctrine. The planned purchase of an Armoured Combat Vehicle (ACV) to replace the Direct Fire Support Vehicle (DFSV) Coyote and the Leopard C1/C2 in 2010 will dictate what our doctrine should be. However, in this scenario, the Army and the Armoured Corps has an opportunity to revamp its doctrine before the ACV is fielded. It is time to identify how the Army will fight and what capabilities it will bring to the table in a coalition environment. These decisions must be made soon in order to provide the focus necessary to train the Armoured Corps and Army of the future. Despite the interim status of the DFSV Coyote, its capabilities and limitations have a lot in common with the ACV slated to replace it. By making the right decisions regarding the future of the Corps, we can focus our training on what the Corps end state will be in order to achieve a smooth transition to an ACV equipped Armoured Corps. The aim of this article is to determine how best to train on the DFSV Coyote in the intervening period.
In order to develop a concept of employment for the interim DFSV Coyote squadrons, hereafter referred to as CAV Squadrons, several key assumptions had to be made. These assumptions are critical in defining which path the Armoured Corps should adopt as it struggles to maintain a distinct role on the battlefield of tomorrow.
The first assumption, which is vital for the survival of the Corps as the combat arm responsible for the delivery of direct fire support capable of defeating enemy armour, is that the current DFSV Coyote is an interim measure. Calling the current stripped down version of the Coyote a DFSV is inappropriate. The Coyote does not give the combined arms team any distinct capability. It has the same firepower as the LAV III currently entering service with the infantry. Furthermore, the Coyote has less crosscountry capability than LAV III while offering similar protection. If the Coyote was to become the primary vehicle for the Corps it would mark the end of the Armoured Corps. The Corps would cease to provide the combined arms team with distinct firepower, mobility and increased protection, which set it apart from the other arms.
Logically flowing from the first assumption, is the need for the Army to fund and field a vehicle which can continue to provide the direct fire support required to defeat enemy armour. Assuming the ACV will not be a MBT, then the ACV will be a compromise since our protection and mobility will likely no longer be distinct from the other elements of the combined arms team. The only distinct characteristic will be the firepower. Based on …